Sunday, 8 April 2012

Section 13

Sustained Study 1 - Contour Drawing
18 March 2012
Graphite Pencil on Tracing Paper
42cm x 51cm (16.5" x 20")

Yesterday I finished Section 13 of the Natural Way to Draw.

Section 13 is a milestone:
  • It is the halfway point
  • It pulls some of the threads of the course together into a single exercise (the sustained study)
  • It introduces the first exercise (the extended gesture study) that puts an emphasis on accurately drawing the proportions of the subject

The extended gesture study is a half hour exercise. It beings with a normal gesture drawing (see Gesture Drawing). You then make the drawing more accurate by looking for alignments, measuring angles and relative dimensions. You can even erase lines if the drawing becomes confusing. The one stipulation is not to allow this analytical thinking to impose rigidity on to the drawing. You have to keep returning to the spirit of the gesture and draw what the subject is doing.

The sustained study is drawn in four 1-hour sessions. It starts with an extended gesture drawing. You then put a piece of tracing paper over the gesture drawing and make a contour drawing. The instructions for the contour drawing are the same as for the original exercise (see Contour Drawing) - you have to imagine a physical contact with the subject and only draw when you are looking at the subject. The difference is you can look at the paper more often and use the gesture drawing to help locate your position on the paper.

Sustained Study 1 - Extended Gesture Drawing
11 March 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
42cm x 51cm (16.5" x 20")

You then remove the gesture drawing, cover the contour drawing with another sheet of tracing paper and make a modelled drawing in pencil. The instructions are largely the same as for the earlier modelled drawings (see Modelled Drawing) with one important exception. In the original exercise, the lightest parts of the drawing are the parts of the subject that are closest to you. In the sustained study, the lightest parts of the drawing are the lightest parts of the subject.

Sustained Study 1 - Modelled Drawing
31 March 2012
Graphite Pencil on Tracing Paper
42cm x 51cm (16.5" x 20")

I am immensely grateful to Elaine for all the time she spends posing and for allowing me to post these pictures. The modelled drawing is particularly unflattering, but it is an important measure of my progress at the mid point of the course. I’ve come a long way, but there is still a long way to travel.


  1. Hi Mark!

    I'm slowly approaching this section. Do you have any extra advice to give regarding the sustained study? Also, do you remember for how long did you do each stage of the sustained study (gesture, contour, modeling)? The book basically says that the modeling stage has to be 2-3 hours.

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Michael,

      Good to hear from you. I'm glad you’re persevering with The Natural Way to Draw and making progress.

      I don’t have any specific recommendations for the sustained study. My approach was to use the first session for the extended gesture study, the second session for the contour study and the third and fourth sessions for modelling.

      All the best,